The Straits Times
Published on Nov 17, 2012

Alarm in EU as Turkey raises return to death penalty


ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent remarks on a possible reintroduction of capital punishment have triggered an outcry in the European Union, a leading advocate for its abolition.

Mr Erdogan, famous for his provocative talk, triggered controversy earlier this month when he suggested the death penalty might be brought back due to popular support for the measure, particularly in terror-related cases.

But an appalled reaction from the European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, was quick to follow. "Global abolition of the death penalty is one of the main objectives of the EU's human rights policy," a spokesperson for European Enlargement Commissioner Mr Stefan Fuele said.

Mr Hannes Swoboda, the president of the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats at the European Parliament, was rather more blunt. Mr Erdogan's proposal was "scandalous and provocative," he said - and a possible deal-breaker in Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU.